In 2008, Marvel shocked the entire comics world with Secret Invasion. Created by Brian Michael Bendis, the storyline revolved around alien shape-shifters called Skrulls who slowly infiltrated Earth as they successfully replaced key heroes and leaders of the world. The eight-part series sent shockwaves into the Marvel universe and gave birth to the famous tagline, "Who do you trust?" sending both the heroes and readers in a turmoil of doubts and trust issues.
The long-term invasion plan of the Skrulls was brilliant. They took the time to study humans who are essential for their desired conquering of Earth. It was a calculated risk for the shape-shifters, as one wrong move would derail their plans. However, they managed to keep it in place, replacing the likes of Spider-Woman, Black Bolt, Hank Pym and Elektra. In doing so, the full-scale attack led to heartbreaking reveals and confrontations among the heroes. Through the combined might of the Avengers, Young Avengers, Fantastic Four, Thunderbolts, and Nick Fury's Secret Warriors, the heroes managed to defeat the Skrulls and halt the invasion. Still, it changed the landscape of Marvel Comics forever.
On the flip side, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been patiently waiting for the franchise to adapt Secret Invasion in live-action. The debut of the Skrulls in 2019's Captain Marvel led many to believe that the MCU was finally making headway, but (SPOILERS) it was revealed that these Skrulls were actually good guys trying to find a newfound home in the movie. Despite that, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige hinted that Skrulls have "a variety of moralities among them" meaning that there could be evil Skrulls out there who are just waiting to strike at the proper moment.
At this point, the MCU's own Secret Invasion is quite likely; it is just a matter of how and when it will happen. So far, the Skrulls have only appeared twice in the MCU through the earlier mentioned Captain Marvel and the final entry to the Infinity Saga, Spider-Man: Far From Home. In Far From Home, audiences around the world were shocked to learn that Nick Fury and Maria Hill were not who they seemed to be during the entire movie. It was revealed in the film's post-credits sequence that they were actually Talos (Ben Mendelson) and Soren (Sharon Blynn), respectively. The interesting part of this reveal is that the viewers and Peter Parker (Tom Holland) had no idea that both of them are Skrulls. Although Talos and Soren had no evil intentions during Far From Home, the unpredictability of the shape-shifting concept begs the question: Are there more MCU characters who have already been replaced by the shape-shifting aliens?
The Direct has predicted which MCU characters Skrulls may target for impersonation based on their probable goals for their invasion of Earth...
Who is Secretly a Skrull in the MCU?
1. Happy Hogan
To accomplish a long-term invasion, a lot of resources are needed. In the MCU, the best way to get those is by infiltrating a well-established multinational industrial company like Stark Industries. With Gwyneth Paltrow not returning to the MCU as Pepper Potts, the closest character related to the company is Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau). After Tony Stark's demise in Avengers: Endgame and helping out Peter sort out his problems in Far From Home, Hogan is a character not likely to show up in many more MCU films (aside from the untitled Spider-Man 3), so it would be easy for the Skrulls to replace him without the major heroes noticing.
It's worth mentioning that Hogan is the head of security at Stark Industries, making it easier for the Skrulls to enact their plan. Once replaced, Skrull's Happy Hogan would pass through any security measures within the company, having access to any valuable tech or asset - they could even uncover some Iron Man armor along the way.
2. Thunderbolt Ross
It's not hard to imagine that General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross (William Hurt) could have already been replaced by a Skrull in the MCU. After his appearance in 2008's The Incredible Hulk, Ross was not seen until 2016's Captain America: Civil War, where he played a major part in disbanding the Avengers. In theory, this might've been the Skrull's first attempt in playing mind games with the heroes. The purpose of replacing Ross could be due to his connections with the leaders of the military and the government. Having been trusted by these leaders, it will be a walk in the park for the Skrulls to replace more key persons over time.
While Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl) had a long and complicated plan during Civil War, the Skrulls would've been part of the bigger picture, slowly planting seeds in the background and replacing even more world leaders in the United Nations to solidify the Sokovia Accords. As a result, the accords successfully regulated the activities of enhanced individuals, which serves as a major advantage for the Skrulls.
3. Janet Van Dyne
After being stuck in the Quantum Realm for many years, Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) returned to the real world during 2018's Ant-Man and The Wasp. However, she was later a victim of Thanos' snap along with her husband Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly). While she returned during the events of Endgame (as seen in Tony Stark's funeral), fans of the MCU still don't know a lot about the character, which makes her a prime candidate to be replaced by the Skrulls.
The reasoning behind Janet being replaced might be due to her connection with the Pym Particles and the aforementioned Quantum Realm. It has been well-established during Ant-Man and the Wasp that the particles are a very sought after technology in the MCU, and the Skrulls would be aware of this. In order to be close to obtaining them, the Skrulls would need someone to be with Hank Pym all the time. Thus, replacing Janet should be the easiest route for the shape-shifters, as they will learn how the particles and the Quantum Realm could be used to their advantage while waiting for the proper moment to strike.
There is a possibility that the Janet that the fans will see in Ant-Man 3 could very well be a Skrull already. If she would be deemed suspicious, Skrull's Janet Van Dyne could easily explain that any memory gap or lapse in judgment is due to her being stuck in the Quantum Realm for a long time.
4. Maria Hill
Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) is another prime candidate for the Skrulls to impersonate. While she was technically replaced already by Soren on Earth during Far From Home, the whereabouts of the real Maria Hill is still unknown to most fans. By being Nick Fury's most trusted ally, it is assumed that she is with him in the space headquarters that was teased during the post-credits scene of Far From Home, establishing a new organization (presumably S.W.O.R.D.) to combat otherworldly threats.
Given that Hill is in close proximity to the Skrulls, it would be easy for the shape-shifters to replace her either during or after the events of Far From Home. Having a Skrull version of Hill close to Fury would serve as a huge advantage for them, allowing the Skrulls to become aware of the different plans and secrets about Fury's new organization. There is also a possibility that Hill has already been replaced after the events of 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, which would make it more shocking and heartbreaking not just to Fury but also to the viewers.
Another possible candidate for the Skrulls to replace is Wong (Benedict Wong) who is a valuable ally of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). During the events of Avengers: Infinity War, the existence of Strange became public knowledge due to his battle with Thanos' Black Order in the streets of New York. The Skrulls would be aware of how powerful Strange is and keeping an eye on him would be a wise move since he is a major threat to their invasion.
Posing as Wong would give the shape-shifters an inside look at the magical and mystical side of the MCU. By doing so, the Skrulls would have access to magical artifacts that they can potentially modify and use to their advantage. Wong's role in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness remains to be seen, but he could be replaced after the multiversal adventure. It is unknown whether Strange will obtain the Time Stone again by the time the sequel's credits roll, so the Master of the Mystic Arts wouldn't be able to see the Skrull invasion ahead of time. It seems that the fans are in for a heartbreaking confrontation between the two friends once it has been revealed that Wong is a Skrull.
MCU's Secret Invasion
In the comics, Secret Invasion started when a Skrull, posing as Elektra, died in a mission with the New Avengers. The death of Skrull's Elektra kicked off the storyline which led the Skrulls to destabilize the superhuman community in simultaneous attacks. In the MCU, some of the evil Skrulls would've been posing as good guys within the ranks of Fury's new organization (presumably S.W.O.R.D.) while others could be already on Earth - possibly hidden way before the events of the invasion.
It remains to be seen how the Skrulls would attack our beloved MCU heroes, but one thing is for sure - our heroes will not see it coming. The reveals would be heartbreaking, which will lead to intense confrontations. Through years of studying and hiding in the shadows, the Skrulls might already have found a way to mimic the powers of several powerful heroes in the MCU - an ability that they haven't exhibited during Captain Marvel - making sure that their invasion goes according to plan. In turn, copying the power of the heroes could very well be their back-up plan in case they were exposed.
This brings us to another list of MCU heroes who the Skrulls might copy during the actual invasion event itself, which would bring more confusion and distrust among the superhero community.
Who the Skrulls might replace during the MCU's Secret Invasion?
1. Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel)
As the most powerful member of the Avengers, it is a no-brainer that the Skrulls would try to copy Carol Danvers (Brie Larson). With Tony Stark's death and Captain America's retirement during Endgame, it is widely speculated that she will lead the Avengers moving forward and pose as the leader of the team.
While it is true that Danvers will be hard to replace, she sees the Skrulls as allies and would be the first to confront them if she notices any unusual activities. However, Danvers' trust and confidence with the Skrulls could be used against her, making her vulnerable and an easy target for the shape-shifters to pin down. Clearly, having a Skrull version of Captain Marvel would be a huge advantage for the infiltrating alien race, which spells bad news for the MCU's finest.
2. Sam Wilson (Captain America/Falcon)
Another candidate for the Skrulls to try and copy during the Secret Invasion event is Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) - the current Captain America by that time. Targeting Wilson should serve as a wise move for the Skrulls as there's a chance that he'll be co-captain of the Avengers alongside Captain Marvel - similar to the dynamic of Steve and Tony in the original iteration of the team. With a Skrull impersonation of Sam Wilson, the Avengers would be in disarray without both of its leaders. Through Danvers and Wilson, the Skrulls would try to gain control of the team, leading to emotional confrontations between heroes.
3. Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch)
It's difficult to predict what the status of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) will be by the time the invasion strikes, but it is assumed that she will be on the side of the heroes. There is no doubt that Wanda Maximoff is a powerful Avenger, which makes her a prime target for the Skrulls to mimic. However, it is unknown if the Skrulls can even replicate her Hex powers.
The Skrulls would be aware of Maximoff's insane power levels, so taking her down and trying to copy her powers should be on their priority list. Having Maximoff replaced as Skrull impostors would definitely make matters worse for the rest of the heroes.
In MCU canon, it has been confirmed that Shuri (Letitia Wright) is the smartest person in the entire franchise. Because of this, the Skrulls could try and replace her during the Secret Invasion event. It wasn't until Infinity War that the borders of Wakanda had been opened to the rest of the world, so a more-public Wakanda would make it easier for the Skrulls to capturing Shuri.
Wakanda is not just home to Vibranium but also most of the Earth's advanced technology. Posing as Shuri would give the Skrulls first-hand access to the country's technology and Vibranium, which could come in handy for their battle against the MCU heroes. Additionally, betraying T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and holding him hostage could serve as a heartbreaking clash between the two siblings.